I don’t know if anyone can relate to this but I hope they can, and I hope they can give me or show me a way to get my head around it. I do have generalised anxiety, but I suffer from a lot of anxiety related to the giving and receiving of gifts, particularly at Christmas time.
I have always been that girl who was at school who gives extravagant gifts; not because I was rich, but because I saved up my money all year because I was so afraid that people wouldn’t like gifts I gave them if they didn’t cost a lot. This still happens now, although I have started to appreciate that expensive gifts make people feel awkward. I like it when people tell me we have a gift ‘limit’ – a budget on how much we are going to spend on each others’ presents – at least I have a guideline then.
One of the main anxiety triggers I have is the moment of giving the gift – their reaction – whether they will like it – what they will think of it – what they will think of ME – whether I put enough thought into it. All these things are running through my head on a constant cycle for each person in the run up to Christmas, and it drives me crazy. Even worse though, is the anxiety triggered by the receiving of gifts.
Firstly, the thought of someone actually going out and spending time thinking about something I like should be heartwarming, and I wish it was, but at the moment it isn’t. It makes me feel sick because they might get fed up, and blame me for being a waste of their time. I KNOW this isn’t logical – you don’t need to tell me that – but I believe that is the thought process I am going through and by discussing it maybe I can find a way of stopping it. Next, the actual receiving of a present. How do I react? What expression to I use? What am I trying to make them think? What do I say? Do I smile, do I cry, do I look happy, sad?
You see, as you well know, being a Borderline you cannot trust your own emotions and behaviour. Having manipulated your own behaviour and the thoughts and behaviours of others for so long, it is almost impossible to just ‘be normal’ and act normally – because there IS no normal for us Borderlines. Everything is manufactured, everything is manipulated, and I am starting to understand that now. That is why I understand that I cannot live without Borderline – because take away the Borderline and I will have no way to behave, think and act; we have thought about and manufactured our own behaviour and emotion for so long there is no other way – it just doesn’t come ‘naturally’ any more.